Type 2 diabetes patients may benefit from ‘two big meals a day’
A two meal a day diet of breakfast and lunch has been suggested by researchers as a good way of managing type 2 diabetes.
The study was carried out by researchers from Charles University in Prague and other research centres in Prague and Italy and published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Diabetologia.
The report found that when people with type 2 diabetes ate two meals a day they lost more weight and had lower blood sugar levels at the end of 12 weeks than when they ate six smaller meals a day.
The study involved 54 overweight and obese people with type 2 diabetes who followed the two diet regimens, one after the other, over the course of 12 weeks.
Both diets were designed to provide the same amount of calories – 500kcal less than each individual needed in a day. The people in the study continued to take their usual diabetes medications during the study.
The study looked at changes in body weight, liver fat content, insulin resistance, and pancreatic cell function when the participants were eating in the different patterns.
Researchers planned the nutrient composition and calorie intake for both meal patterns and both provided 500kcal per day less than the person’s energy expenditure requirements.
Participants were given tutorials by the researchers over four days on how to compose and prepare their diets, and they also followed up with them during the study. Half of the participants were provided with their meals by the researchers, and the other half prepared them themselves.
The two meal pattern included breakfast and lunch, and the six meal pattern included three main meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner), and three smaller snacks. Participants were randomly allocated to which pattern they tried first. After 12 weeks of one pattern, they switched to the other pattern.
Those taking part were asked not to change their normal physical activity patterns during the study. Their medications were also unchanged unless medically necessary.
An NHS Choices Behind The Headlines report on the study concluded: “The news has suggested that eating two meals a day may also be beneficial for controlling weight in people without diabetes. It is not possible to say for certain whether this is the case until there are trials in this group of people. However, it is important to note that both dietary patterns tested were calorie-restricted, and both resulted in weight loss. Even if you just consume breakfast and lunch, if you consume more calories in it than you burn off during the day this is likely to result in weight gain and not loss.”
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